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L O N D ON:

PRINTED BY C. ROWORTH AND SONS, BELL YARD,

TEMPLE BAR.

TO

THE HONOURABLE

SIR JAMES PARKE, KNT.

ONE OF THE JUDGES OF HIS MAJESTY'S COURT OP KING'S BENCH,

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INTRODUCTORY ESSAY.

BEFORE entering upon the discussion of the law, as applied to the very important contracts which are the subject of the following treatise, there are some few historical details which

may

be properly laid before the reader; and there are some general observations arising from a consideration of these contracts, and the regulations that have been imposed upon them, which the Author wishes to express. He feels that though a criticism upon the law is out of place in the body of a treatise which professes to detail what the law is, yet it may not be deemed improper in the preliminary remarks which custom authorizes him in prefixing. With that feeling he has thought it right to state his opinion upon the general merits of annuities, and the laws which directly or indirectly affect them, but as briefly as he has been able, remembering that his principal object has been, a compilation of the Law of Annuities, and not a criticism

upon it.

To refer, in the first place, to the historical details : it seems singular, that, although the ancient Romans carried the system of money-lending to an unlimited extent, and adopted a variety of modes to evade the laws, which prohibited, with great strictness and severity, excessive usury, the method of lending money by means of annuities does not appear to have prevailed among them. At least no trace remains to modern times to show that they were acquainted with this contract, except, indeed, what may be gathered from a case which occurs in the 160th Novel of Justinian. It is there recited, that the magistrates of the city of Aphrodisium had advanced to particular individuals certain sums of money, the property of that city, of which they were to have the custody, and for which they were to pay to the city a reasonable recompense. Upon this agreement, it is said, a doubt arose whether a rent or a payment of interest was constituted. The parties who had received the money availed themselves of a decree of the emperor, whereby he had enacted that no interest should be paid on loans after the principal had been repaid by the interest, and refused to pay this rent or interest. On complaint to the emperor, he declared that his former decree did not apply to such a case as this, since it referred to the lenders of money, whereas the present was more like an annual rent than payment of interest (magis annuo reditui quam usurarum prestationi simile videtur). This certainly seems to have been some contract not altogether unlike our annuities, though it is

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